The Koch Industries-funded astroturf group Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is attacking a regional greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program organized by the ten northeastern and mid-Atlantic states. Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont are all participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the first mandatory, market-based effort in the U.S. to reduce climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions. The states organized RGGI as a reaction to the U.S. Senate's inability to pass a climate bill. RGGI sets an energy-sector carbon cap for participating states, and then auctions off the rights to product emissions. AFP will protest at the first event where the program will auction off allowable emissions. AFP is claiming the auctions are "secretive," which is untrue; information about them is posted to a public web site, and there is even an RSS feed to get information about them. AFP also calls the program a "stealth energy tax" and claims that the program will lead to drastically higher energy bills. The cap will actually account for between 0.4 and 1 percent of energy bills. RGGI calims that investments in energy efficiency will eventually lead to reductions in energy bills of 20 to 30 percent, and the program will create new jobs in renewable energy. AFP tries to keep the appearance of being a grassroots organization, but a recent article in the New Yorker magazine revealed the group is bankrolled by billionaire oil company owner David Koch, who has a history of campaigning against climate change legislation and funding climate change deniers. Koch Industries is also one of the nation's top ten polluters, and fossil fuels are the company's mainstay.
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